[quote]"I'll never forget the day when a woman came up to me and said, 'No, you could never be on a magazine cover. Your face features don't work; your eyes are small, you have a small face but a big nose.' I was only 14 and I had never noticed any of that stuff.”[/quote]
--- Gisele Bundchen
Dove’s latest Campaign for Real Beauty commercial has become a sweeping internet sensation. The video, called “Dove Real Beauty Sketches,” shows how women see themselves differently than others see them -- or, more specifically, judge their looks much harsher than anyone else who sees them. (Apparently, only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful.) The video ends with this message: You’re more beautiful than you think.
Interestingly, there’s a disconnect in perception when it comes to men, too -- only it tends to run in the opposite direction: only 4% of men consider themselves average looking (a difference that’s hilariously captured by this male parody of the Dove beauty sketches video. Sketch artist: “Tell me about your eyes.” Man: “A lot of people say they’re an abyss.” It ends with this message: Men: You’re less beautiful than you think.)
So, we often don’t see ourselves as others see us. Is this a problem? And how does it shape culture? When there’s a disconnect between our physicality and our mental perception, we risk confusing our audience and undermining our potency.
New York Magazine criticized the ad because it still upholds the notion that beauty is paramount, and yet, we’re damned if we call ourselves “beautiful,” because it indicates we’re overly confident.
And what of confidence? Is it a good thing? David Brooks recently examined this question of confidence in relation to this video. He poses the following questions: Are women less confident than men? Do we undervalue the talent for self-criticism the women display in the video? Are more of society’s problems caused by overconfidence or underconfidence?
The relationship between beauty and confidence is widely acknowledged, and we know that physically attractive people are perceived as smarter and more competent. But how much of that reward system stems from attitude/confidence -- based on a self-perceived reality -- and how much of it is based on objective beauty?
Of course confidence can go overboard and lead to its frightening cousin, hubris. Too many politicians, celebrities, and CEOs come to mind here. These figures are at once inspirational, iconic, and capable of greatness, and yet -- if their egos get out of check -- capable of crushing themselves and their efficacy.
George Santayana defines beauty as “pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing” -- it is an objectified value, an emotion, and something to which we are not indifferent. But just how we perceive of an object’s beauty is largely determined by the way the thing is presented. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of control over how we present ourselves. Here are some tips for optimizing your perceived beauty by boosting self-confidence and radiating attractiveness:
Get some fresh air and exercise. A regular routine of simply walking outdoors can boost your mood (and happy people are confident people).
Dance! This Huffington Post article suggests that dancing in public is a great way to feel confident and uninhibited. Sound ridiculous? Think you’d draw too much attention to yourself? Remember the spotlight rule: people are only paying 50% as much attention to you as you think they are. So go ahead and cut loose.
Guys: Need a confidence boost? Primer magazine has supplied you with 17 inspirational background images for your computer or phone, sure to remind you of all the important things in life and keep you attractively on track.
What do you do to boost confidence and make yourself feel and look more attractive? Tell us about it in the comments below!